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Haase slammed home a victory in his debut, defeats Young Harris 105-59
Jerod Haase made his head coaching debut on Saturday as the Blazers took on Young Harris College. With his mentor, future Hall of Famer Roy Williams, watching, the Green and Gold made quick work of the out matched division II team.
The night started out a bit shaky for the home team as they turned the ball over 6 times in the first half but the Blazers never trailed cruising to a 105-59 victory. Haase said after the game, “Well it was the tale of two halves, well really the tale of the first fifteen minutes. The first fifteen minutes we played very un-alert, not paying attention to detail, not playing overly hard, and we started to get going a little bit after that and built on it from there. I love the fact that these guys enjoy each other’s company and each other’s success.”
The second half the Blazers came out firing on all cylinders, shooting over 57 percent from the floor and 62.5 percent from beyond the arc. When asked on what the first year head coach said at halftime, Haase said, “I just told them two things, you have to play hard every possession, as hard as you possibly can then execution. We were doing things in the first half that they will watch back on tape and be embarrassed about… it was the first game, it was a little bit of jitters so once we got settled down it helped.”
Haase and the Blazers showed off their new style, fast paced, exciting brand of basketball that Birmingham natives and UAB Baskeball fans remember from the Mike Anderson days of a run and gun style of offense that is attached with full-court pressure defense.
The quick pace was aided by the athleticism of senior guard Jekore Tyler. Tyler missed the exhibition game but didn’t seem to miss a step as he posted 15 points on 7-10 shooting including 1-2 from deep. On the boards he grabbed seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks to fill out his stat sheet. “[Tyler] provided energy, he can do things that not anyone else on the team and very few players can do with his athleticism, and he has a lot of skill sets too. I was very pleased with his effort and what he did out there.”
Tyler helped to fire up the team and the crowd with a couple of showtime, highflying dunks, about which the selfless senior said, “Personally it feels ok but team wise it feels better because when that happens it just boosts the whole crowd and the team just thrives off of it. For me I just look forward to how much it helps my team.”
Bartow Arena saw the showcasing of a fluid offense game that put focus on down low play and a big man who is not afraid to work off the low block. Junior College transfer, Fahro Alihodzic, posted 4-5 shooting going for 10 points in the first half alone.
Three new faces started in the opener, Rod Rucker, a junior college transfer, senior-transfer Terence Jones, and the aforementioned Alihodzic.
The Blazers spread the ball effectively with six guys posting double figures, including Homewood native, Jordan Swing, who put up 12 points in the first half on his way of scoring what was a tie for the game high, 17 points. “I am always looking to attack, I feel like I did slow down there in the second half I try to attack all forty minutes and I try to implement that into my game,” said Swing.
Up nest, the Blazers will have a tough test in Omaha, Nebraska as they are set take on Creighton. Tyler said, “We just have to embrace it. As long as we listen to what coach tells us, play hard, execute on offense, pick on ball defense and communicate on defense we will be alright.”
UAB will return to Bartow on Sunday at 3 p.m. as they take on Navy in the South Padre Island Invitational.